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TIFFCOM: Pony Canyon Unveils 2018 Fuji Slate

Pony Canyon, Japan’s pre-eminent sales firm, Pony Canyon arrived at the TIFFCOM market on a high note. Its slate reflects a current hit, “Mixed Doubles,” as well as an appealing line up of forthcoming projects from long-term supplier and owner Fuji Television.

Despite the exit of Chihiro Kameyama, the broadcaster’s superstar producer, the strategy of involvement in up to ten movies per year remains intact. In the vein of its Bayside Shakedown” franchise, some are extensions of Fuji’s TV shows.

Releasing in February through Warner Bros., is “Tonight, At The Movies,” a story of what happens when a 1960s movie actress (Haruka Ayase) steps out of the frame and causes trouble for the admiring young film director (Kentaro Sakaguchi) who was watching. The film is directed by Hideki Takeguchi, creator of smash hits “Thermae Romae,” which employ a similar impossible setup.

That is followed by the live-action adaptation of “Inuyashiki,” a top-selling Manga from “Gantz” creator Hiroya Oku. Directed by Shinsuke Sato (“Gantz Perfect Answer,” “Death Note Light Up The New World”), the film is a sci-fi action thriller pitting the forces of good and evil and featuring a formerly-cancer struck man and a schoolboy whose bodies were transformed by the arrival of a UFO. Toho will distribute.

Summer will see the release of “Code Blue The Movie,” the first feature film spin-off from the “Code Blue” medical action TV series that is now in its third season. Fuji says the script is conceived as a stand-alone title that does not require viewing of the entire 2008-2017 TV series.

Pony Canyon is also offering “Kasane,” a comic book adaption about two actresses — one talented, but looks-challenged, the other gorgeous, but unsuccessful, who discover they can changes faces with a magical lipstick. Yuichi Sato (“Poisonberry in My Brain”) directs while Tao Tsuchiya and Kyoko Yoshine play the two actresses. Delivery is set for next autumn.

At the new Ikubukuro TIFFCOM venue, Pony Canyon is operating from a stand decked out like a ping pong facility and draped in nets to keep the balls from flying. The theme is borrowed from “Mixed Doubles,” the company’s table tennis comedy action picture, which opened on top of the Japanese box office this weekend. The company expects to take the slate to next week’s American Film Market in Los Angeles and wrap up a number of deals that it started this week in Tokyo.

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